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Indicator Name, Target and Goal

Indicator 3.3.5: Number of people requiring interventions against neglected tropical diseases

Target 3.3: By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Definition and Rationale


This indicator is defined as the number of people requiring treatment and care for any one of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) targeted by the WHO NTD Roadmap and World Health Assembly resolutions. 


Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in more than 100 countries. They include the following diseases: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, dengue, dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), echinococcosis, foodborne trematodiases, human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), leishmaniases, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, mycetoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness), rabies, schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiases, taeniasis and neurocysticercosis, trachoma, and yaws. An up-to-date list is available at

Treatment and care is defined as preventive, curative, surgical or rehabilitative measures against the NTDs. It consists of:

(1) Mass treatment known as preventive chemotherapy (PC) for at least one NTD; and

(2) Individual treatment and care for any NTD. 

PC consists of the regular, large-scale administration of drugs - either alone or in combination, to entire population groups, with the aim of reducing transmission and associated morbidity; PC is the public health strategy recommended by WHO against some helminth infections (lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis and soil transmitted helminthiasis) and one chlamydial infection (trachoma). 

Other key interventions against NTDs (e.g. vector management, veterinary public health, water, sanitation and hygiene) are to be addressed in the context of other targets and indicators, namely Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and universal access to water and sanitation. 

Rationale and Interpretation: 

The “end of the epidemic” of NTDs will be evidenced first by decreases in the number of people requiring treatment and care, as NTDs are eradicated, eliminated or controlled.

However, this indicator should not be interpreted as the number of people at risk for NTDs. The number of people at risk is larger. Instead, this number represents the people at a level of risk that requires medical interventions – i.e., treatment and care for NTDs.

The number should be decreasing over time towards zero. Global targets imply a 90% reduction by 2030. 

Data Sources and Collection Method

Data for this indicator is compiled by relevant government agencies such as the ministry of health, through national NTD programs. 

For NTDs requiring mass treatment (PC): WHO’s Joint Request for Selected PC Medicines (JRSM) program supports countries in securing medicines through donations from pharmaceutical companies for NTD treatments. In such cases, it includes data on the number of people requiring PC. In other cases, the WHO has designed the PC Epidemiological Data Reporting Form (EPIRF) to help governments standardize and report their epidemiological data, including data on the number of people requiring PC. 

For NTDs requiring individual treatment and care: the District Health Information System (DHIS, version 2) enables accurate and timely dissemination of data on the number of cases requiring treatment and care for NTDs, from the district level up to national level. WHO is working to support the use of the DHIS2 to allow for prompt collection, flow, analysis and sharing of data by national NTD programmes.

Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations

Computation Method:

This indicator is calculated as the higher of the below two numbers for a given region/administrative unit:

(1)    Average annual number of people requiring mass treatment for at least one NTD. People may require PC for more than one NTD. To avoid double-counting, the number of people requiring PC is therefore compared across the NTDs, by age group and implementation unit (e.g. district). The largest number of people requiring PC among all NTDs is retained for each age group in each implementation unit. The largest number is considered to be a conservative estimate of the number of people requiring PC for at least one NTD; and

(2)    Number of new cases requiring individual treatment and care for any NTD. Currently, the number of new cases is based on country reports, whenever available, of new and known cases of Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease, cysticercosis, dengue, guinea-worm disease, echinococcosis, human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), leprosy, the leishmaniases, rabies and yaws. 

Comments and limitations:

Country reports may not be perfectly comparable over time. Improved surveillance and case-finding may lead to an apparent increase in the number of people known to require treatment and care. Some further estimation may be required to adjust for changes in surveillance and case-finding. Missing country reports may need to be imputed for some diseases in some years. 

Proxy, alternative and additional indicators: N/A

Data Disaggregation

Data can be disaggregated by disease and by age group. Data can also be disaggregated by sex and location (urban / rural).


Official SDG Metadata URL  

Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
WHO (2012). Weekly epidemiological record (No.2, 2012, 87, 17-28)

Other references
WHO (2007). Global plan to combat neglected tropical diseases, 2008–2015. Geneva. Available at: 

WHO (2012). Accelerating work to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases: A Roadmap for Implementation. Geneva. Available at:

WHO (2015). Investing to overcome the global impact of neglected tropical diseases. Geneva. Available at:

Country examples

International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring

This document was prepared based on inputs from World Health Organization (WHO).

For focal point information for this indicator, please visit

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